Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently failed to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of House Bill 2787, legislation that would ensure decisions about school sports and spectators can be made at the local level.
In response, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) made the following statement:
“We have said from the beginning that this effort is more than just about school sports. It is about safely providing families the best educational opportunities for their children both inside and outside the classroom and ensuring certainty and consistency in the resumption of these activities.
“Unfortunately, today more Democrats decided to cave to political pressure by flipping their vote instead of standing up for their constituents. Until more Democrats are willing to stand up for the people of Pennsylvania instead of standing with their political party or their governor, the commonwealth will remain mired in the governor’s emergency rule. We continue to call on them to stand with us – a united Republican caucus – against this governor’s overbroad, inconsistent and contradictory orders, especially when they have voted in support of these proposals before.
“House Republicans will continue to put forward a legislative agenda that stands up for children, families and small businesses – the very people forgotten by this governor’s overbroad, confusing and inconsistent orders during this pandemic.”
Also in response to the vote, Wolf thanked House Democrats for “upholding COVID-19 mitigation measures that protect the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.” He released the following statement:
“I am thankful to the House Democrats for continuing to stand with me and showing a commitment to working collaboratively to protect the people of Pennsylvania during this ongoing public health crisis. Pennsylvanians should be thankful as well.
“Throughout this pandemic, my administration has maintained that school districts should have local control on decisions over school sports and extracurricular activities and has no intention of changing course on this recommendation. Important mitigation measures such as face coverings and consistently maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet must continue to be implemented to help contain the spread of the virus.
“The bill would have done nothing more than create legislation for something that already exists. Instead of wasting time on a veto override attempt on a superfluous bill, the Republican legislature needs to start taking this pandemic seriously by focusing on the health and safety of our children, staff and teachers in their learning environments, minimizing exposure to COVID-19, and preventing the spread of this deadly virus.
“The Republican legislature should take action on my plan to help Pennsylvania and instead of taking votes on meaningless bills, should provide funding for child care, fund hazard pay for frontline workers, pass legislation to give sick leave to Pennsylvanians and legalize adult-use cannabis to provide funding for businesses impacted by the pandemic.”